New Zealand’s Leader Jacinda Ardern Steps Down
Jacinda Ardern, who became a global liberal icon as New Zealand’s prime minister but faced deepening political challenges with an election looming at home, has said in a surprise announcement that she would step down as the country’s leader, Natasha Frost reports for The New York Times.
In a tearful speech in Napier, where Ardern’s Labour Party was hosting its summer caucus retreat, she said she did not feel personally prepared to complete another term. She will leave office by 7 February, Frost writes.
“I believe that leading a country is the most privileged job anyone could ever have, but also one of the more challenging,” Ardern said. “You cannot and should not do it unless you have a full tank plus a bit in reserve for those unexpected challenges.”
She added: “This has been the most fulfilling five and a half years of my life. I am leaving because with such a privileged job comes a big responsibility.”
Ardern, 42, became prime minister in 2017 and won a historic re-election victory in 2020, largely on the strength of New Zealand’s response to Covid, which allowed residents to live a mostly normal life for much of the pandemic.
Original article by Natasha Frost, The New York Times, January 19, 2023.